One of the challenges in selling antique jewelry is making the prospective buyer understand why a certain piece could fetch a high price.
Bear in mind that it’s not like fine modern jewelry where majority of the price is factored in the gold or silver content along with the weight of the item. While gold is definitely more expensive than silver and brass, craftmanship plays a big role. Some things just can’t be duplicated anymore. If you hear someone say “antiquity”, it’s not just because it’s old but they are mostly referring to the fine craftmanship that is so hard to find nowadays.
One time, I asked a jewelry shop if they can make vintage-inspired gold-plated silver pendants for me. I was surprised at the prices they quoted. When I asked if it would make a big difference in the cost if I change the material to gold-plated brass, they said it wouldn’t bring down the price much. Bulk of the cost is labor. Not only does it take a longer time to make but there are very few goldsmiths or silversmiths who can make it. One even told me to just buy an antique, it will come out cheaper with better quality!
Personally, I would choose a finely-made silver antique over a newer gold piece simply because you can always buy gold but you can’t get the same craftmanship of a good antique. Rarity can bring up the value too like the bigger-sized pieces such as those “relicario” or reliquary pendants or those intricately made “alfajor” or lace-like chain from tamborin necklaces.
Also, antique gold is normally 10K or less. Most pawnshops won’t even accept gold that is less than 14K. When I asked a reputable pawnshop what she thought was the value of a less than 10K gold earrings with diamante (rough cut diamonds), she smiled politely and shook her head. It wasn’t worth much was what she was trying to say.
Diamante or rough cut diamonds are hardly worth much commercially. Most jewelry and pawn shops won’t even be able to put a value to them as they are “just left-over pieces” when you cut a diamond. But to an antique jewelry collector, the subtle sparkle, the unusual cut or setting, the rarity, the quality – all those things that are not quantifiable are what truly makes a piece valuable.